Growing up in El Paso near Hueco Tanks led Austin Rock Gym owner Troy Wilson to view rock climbing as a way of life. In order to open his own facility he merged his experience running youth climbing programs and gyms with that of his wife and coowner Erica—a Houston native who has spent years scaling New Mexico's rocky ridges. Specializing in bouldering, belaying, and lead climbing, the duo brings mountain terrain indoors at two Austin area locations. The north Austin gym's 30-foot bouldering wall and colorful climbing routes challenge visitors to traverse steep angles, and its top-rope routes let belayed crag clingers scale to the perfect yodeling height. At the south Austin gym, sculpted, 30-foot textured walls loom over a 10,000-square-foot facility, in which climbers can belay, practice lead climbing, or conquer a bouldering cave.
Veteran climbers at each location teach classes and private lessons for rookie rockers 4 and older. In addition to bouldering, lead climbing, and belaying classes, instructors lead women's only sessions and Powerhouse courses that focus on strengthening the body's core. Troy and Tracy's team of experts also guides groups to outdoor climbing venues and lugs a portable rock wall to construction workers no longer challenged by ladders.
The majority of Total Wellness Austin's treatments are customized to meet the needs of each individual, and they all help to strengthen the relationship between mind and body. Owner Lori Massad-Koska sets the tone by developing individualized yoga programs for her clients that assist in lowering stress and improving flexibility, and a series of online instruction videos allows her students to practice in the comfort of their home or their car on the commute to work. Massad-Koska's classes also incorporate furry best friends in Doga sessions, which allow pooches and their pet humans to stretch together.
In addition to sun salutations, Total Wellness Austin aids its clients in the quest for better health with acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care and prompt extended sweating with boot camps led by certified personal trainers. Their focus on wellness extends from clients to the community in which they live: mental-health workshops raise donations for the family room at the Travis County courthouse, which helps comfort children in trouble, and a band of skilled instructors teach free yoga sessions for vets, their spouses, and bands of migrating penguins.
Del Sol Martials Arts & Fitness began not in a sweaty gym where young athletes learned to love exercise, though that is a chapter in its story. Its true origin lies in a kindergarten classroom where Thomas Leverett and Claudia Castro first met. The pair attended every year of school together, eventually celebrating when Thomas earned the title of Sifu and began his own Mantis-style kung fu school, and again when Claudia became a certified yogi. She joined him to start teaching, and together their family reached out to others to train them in fitness, discipline, healthy lifestyles, and 20-year courtships.
Today, students flock to their gym to study Northern Shaolin Seven Star Praying Mantis–style kung fu, a lineage for which Sifu Leverett is an official guardian. Claudia guides students through the equally ancient traditions of Ashtanga- and Vinyasa-style yoga. The duo even offers private cooking classes to teach how to create delicious, healthy meals or light stovetop burners simply by lifting up another stove and placing its already lit burners on them.
There aren’t many fighters who can say that they have their own day. Then again, there aren’t many fighters like Richard Lord. Known as the godfather of Austin boxing, he ran the boxing circuit as a professional boxer and fought a number of rounds in the old Austin Coliseum. A powerhouse presence for more than 30 years, Richard Lord has trained world-champion combatants, including Jesús "El Matador" Chávez and Anissa "The Assassin" Zamarron, and organized the first all-female boxing match sanctioned by U.S. Amateur Boxing, Inc. Looking at all of his achievements, it’s no surprise that the Austin boxing community marks its calendar for March 31, Richard Lord Day.
Inside his gym, he trains reigning prizefighters right next to first-timers in his old-school yet welcoming boxing gym. A team of amicable boxing trainers helps aspiring pugilists to pare off pounds quickly, float like butterflies, and sting like adult-contemporary singers during sweat-soaked sessions that cover form, rhythm, and timing.
The husband and wife owned Massage + Yoga Center has an impressive resum??massage therapist Summer Greenlees was voted Austin's Best Massage Therapist in the Austin Birth Awards for several years running for her prenatal massages. Greenlees and husband Michael Parrish customize treatments to the needs of the individual, presenting a bevy of modalities in the form of trigger point, shiatsu, and a unique house treatment combining massage and yoga.
Their specialty, Ashiatsu Barefoot massage, blends therapeutic, deep-tissue, and relaxation massage treatments into a tension-blasting session customized for each client and whatever knots may be lurking in their musculature. Continuing with its theme of relaxation, the staff offers a selection of essential oils, salves, and Neutraceuticals, along with a variety of yoga classes, from beginner to prenatal. These yoga workouts encourage stress reduction, and their stretching facet helps clients render their limbs as malleable as a chewed stick of gum.
A love for Texas’ Spanish heritage shines through in the instructors at Creative Language Center, who are all native speakers, born and educated in Spanish-speaking countries. Working with groups of six or fewer students allows the teachers bountiful time to speak one-on-one or practice bilingual telepathy with their pupils. General beginner levels introduce basic conversation using pictures and mimicry to cover grammar and present tenses, and intermediate levels enhance students' conversation skills, preparing them to ask for directions and make purchases. In advanced courses, instructors expand students' vocabulary, bringing them the ability to speak on current topics, argue and hypothesize, and recite even the most complicated shampoo ingredients. In higher-level sessions, instructors conduct all in-class speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish. General and topic-specific courses start anew each month, enabling budding linguists to join frequently or jump into ongoing sessions.